Wheel of Change Moon

Wheel of Change Moon

Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
ISBN #0-89281-609-0

 

The Book says: When this card is a part of your reading you are experiencing a kind of foreshadowing: an intuition, suspicion, and fear of what is to come. This card signifies a time in which shadow aspects of your personality or things that are hidden in darkness are developing a life of their own. Sometimes these things are positive, creative aspects of the personality and lead to a deep appreciation of our talents and our humanity. Whatever is at work in the darkness, it is time to pay attention, as the opportunity for real growth is present. Follow the cycle of the moon and try to recognize its development from new to full and its return to full. Watch how it becomes visible in the daylight hours and use its phases to help you illuminate your own situation. The Moon card represents inner process, and these processes work well with the help of symbols; the moon’s changeability is just such a transformative process and a visual tool for growth and change.

TarotBroad’s Buzz:  To me this Moon card symbolizes the mysteries of the unconscious and the hidden aspects of the human psyche – those things we only dare to address in the darkness of the night. Very often the Moon is associated with women’s mysteries and women’s cycles. I’ve never really felt that connection myself. To me the Moon is more of a psychological card; a card that forces us to face the things that scare us deep down inside. The Moon is about the unknown and our terror of things that go bump in the night.

It has always amazed me how familiar things appear so much more threatening and fearsome in the dark. This card represents the darkness present in the human soul and our ability to do horrible things to each other. At the same time The Moon symbolizes dreams and intuition, trusting our inner voice and inner wisdom but even that can seem like a scary, alien landscape. We are so often taught that there must be a rational explanation for everything. However even if mysterious things can be explained in a rational way, that doesn’t mean it’s the only possible explanation. Look at crop circles and UFO sightings. There are rational and logical explanations for both of these phenomena but that doesn’t necessarily mean these are the only possibility.

The Moon didn’t become any less magical and mystical just because humans landed there. It is still a beacon in the night; a light which guides us through the darkness and helps us find our way. The Moon may not be able to make all the darkness and scariness disappear but its presence helps reassure us that we are not alone. I remember as a child being convinced the moon followed me home. How many people wish for the moon. The moon is the keeper of our deepest dreams, our secret desires and our hidden shames. Perhaps the moon can eventually help us realize that there is a time to face and address these desires, dreams and shames otherwise we don’t allow ourselves to transform and move to the next level. It may be a messy, frightening prospect but the moon will help guide us along the path.

Incurred obligations & reciprocity

Gebo

Today as part of my personal rune studies I was considering the rune Gebo/Gyfu. This rune represents gifts given and obligations incurred. Among other things, it can symbolize the reciprocal nature of gifts. It seems the Norse believed that a gift calls for a gift. So if one is given a gift or done a favor then you are expected to gift something of similar value or return the favor in some way (similar to the Northwest Native peoples tradition of potlatch). Thinking about the nature of reciprocity and gifts made me wonder about past gifts and how they obligate me as an adult.

I’m not referring exclusively to presents given for special occasions such as birthdays. I’m talking about other, sometimes more intangible, gifts. For example I had a teacher for third and fourth grade, Sister Esther, who made a huge impact on me. She forced to try harder as a student. I was (and still am) a lazy student. I do what I need to in order to pass the course. I regularly wait until the last minute to complete assignments (unless I’m working with partners). Luckily for me this behavior had little impact on my grades. Even when I half-assed it I received good grades. However Sister Esther refused to accept any half-assing from me. She would push me and prod me to dig deeper for answers. It’s as if she knew the I had a lazy streak and would be satisfied with doing just enough work to get by. As a result of Sister Esther’s prodding, I developed skills that allowed me to half-half-ass it. I developed note taking techniques and study techniques that allowed me to remember facts and information so that I didn’t have to study very hard in order to pass tests. I learned how to read reference papers with an eye towards ignoring extraneous and non-essential (to me anyway) data. As a results I am still able to wait until the last minute to complete assignments but they’re still well done.

Hidden Realm 6 of Pentacles

Another teacher who influenced me was a religion teacher I had in high school. His name was Mr. McCommiskey and I truly believe I made his life miserable. I had his religion in my freshman year and it was right after lunch. I was often sleepy and would nod off. To avoid nodding off I took to reading during class. This frustrated the poor man and he would regularly confiscate my books. He finally asked me why I continued to read during his class and I explained that reading kept me awake. If I wasn’t reading then I would fall asleep. As long as I wasn’t disrupting and participated in class discussions, he never bothered me about this again. I mention Mr. McCommiskey because despite our rocky moments, he taught me so much about spirituality and not accepting the “official” version of events. He was a liberation theologist (this was the early 1980s and as I look back I am truly amazed at how blessed I was by my Catholic high school education). He often pointed out facts left out of the official version of events such as that women used to officiate at early Christian masses. He once led us in replicating what an early Christian mass might have included, along with making unleavened honey oat cakes for us to try. He tried to enlighten our remarkably uninterested teenage minds to the hypocrisy and inequality in the world (he had spend a few years in El Salvador). I truly believe this man is one of the reasons my spiritual path has explored so many areas. When I met him again at a recent high school reunion I made a point to seek him out and than him. I think he might have been touched by my appreciation (even though I admitted I was no long Catholic).

Victorian Trade Card 6 of Pentacles

On a deeper and different level I thought about my parents and the gifts they gave me. Despite their dysfunction, my parents did give me the gift of life and as a result dramatically changed their own lives. They taught me to think for myself (which I’m sure they had many occasions to regret) and to fight for what I believed. They taught me that family is important (something I did not appreciate during my teen years) and should be defended. They taught me that no matter how difficult and challenging things become we shouldn’t give up. From my mother’s side of the family I learned that family doesn’t walk away when things get bad. I watched as my grandmother, her eldest brother and visiting siblings cared for their mother (my great-grandmother) who was senile and unable to care for herself. They all worked together to keep her home and cared for until she passed away. My maternal grandmother survived burying two husbands (the first when she was only about 18), her 6 month old son (also when she was 18) and raising her only daughter by herself. She refused to break. She might have bent under the weight of her responsibilities on occasion but she didn’t give up. She was stubborn and strong-willed and I adored her.

So how can I honor and reciprocate such intangible gifts? The best way I can see is paying it forward. I now tend my ailing mother-in-law because of the gift my grandmother and her family gave me about understanding family obligations and responsibilities. Did they struggle? Of course they did, but they didn’t give up. Even though I was able to thank both the teachers I mentioned that doesn’t mean I can’t pay those gifts forward too. I have nieces and nephews. By teaching them to question and seek answers I hope that I am gifting them with a lifelong curiosity that will pay back the teachers who gifted it to me. There are many more instances I could mention but I think the point has been made. In so many ways we are all blessed in our lives; we are given many tangible and intangible gifts. We should be sure not to take them for granted and to reciprocate in kind in whatever way possible, or at least that what I’m going to try.

Blue Rose Star

Blue Rose Star

Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance

The book says: For now, each star in that vast dark canopy is also sending out threads of light, connecting with each other until there becomes a limitless glittering web extended over the entire stretch of sky. And the Fool comes to understand that these are souls that are in other stages of their journey. They represent souls that have traveled these earthly paths before and moved on, or they are waiting their turn to once again play the Great Game. And in the meantime, they look down over the souls traveling along the paths…and they send their love down to them.

And then, another vision, for now the threads from the sky above and the waters below extend towards each other…glittering sky web to shimmering watery web…until they are joined, as one. And gradually, for the first time in this new place, the Fool hears something. At first he cannot identify it, but then, almost overcome with weeping again, he realizes what he is hearing.

Millions upon millions of soft voices chanting as one. Chanting a great song of life, of existence, of love.

The miracle of the Universe lies in our infinite diversity. The blessing of the Universe lies in our infinite unity.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card symbolizes grace, beauty and hope. There is a mystery and magic about it bringing to mind a child dancing among the snowflakes of the first snowfall – happy, gleeful and awed. The dancer seems oblivious to her surroundings and is solely focused on her dance. She reminds me that even in the darkest night there is a gleam of hope and beauty to be found. She represents the wonder and amazement we feel when we stare up at the night sky and see it is dappled with glorious white stars. She is there when we wonder if there is life on other planets and when we wish and hope for something better in our lives.

The star dancer doesn’t grant these wishes for us, she glides and dances teaching us the moves we need to manifest them on our own. She is a light in the darkness, a guide light which we can follow but she cannot offer guarantees. The truth is that while we can follow the Star’s light only our own perseverance and determination can ensure whether it guides us to the place we want to go.

There is also something pure and innocent about the star dancer. She is a young child putting on a performance in their room completely unaware that grown ups are watching. Perhaps we must be careful not to startle her. Her magic may lay in the fact that she is so self-absorbed that our expectations and needs don’t impinge on her consciousness. She is able to create her magic because no one has ever told her than she cannot. She is full of potential and wonder, sure she can be or do anything she desires because of this purity and single-mindedness. Once faced with the outside world she may begin to doubt herself too but right now she is our shining beacon calling us to regain that child-like innocence and wonder. She helps us reconnect with our ability to believe in ourselves with such purity and focus. She shows us how to be shining stars in our own lives once again.

When Othala is reversed

I’ve been working with the runes lately to try to gain a deeper, more personal understanding of them (so don’t have to keep referring to the books). In the past week I’ve drawn Othala reversed three times. The first time it was paired with Perthro so I focused on how the lots cast at one’s birth, one’s orlog, worked with ancestral inheritance and home. The second two times Othala reversed was paired with Elhaz/Algiz. This puzzled me because clearly I wasn’t understanding how their energy worked together. Then as I was watching a movie it clicked – in this instance Othala reversed represents having an unsafe, dysfunctional home life and upbringing. Elhaz is often described as representing self-protection, shielding or sheltering oneself. That’s when it clicked! Elhaz and Othala reversed were telling me that when one’s childhood or home life felt unsafe then the need to feel protected and shielded grow even stronger.

In my own life I’ve seen this come into play quite clearly. My parents might have loved me but for a variety of reasons my childhood left me feeling unsafe and unprotected. This has resulted in the adult me creating very strict rules and boundaries for myself. I cannot abide hypocrisy or lying. If I find that a friend has lied about something (even if it wasn’t to me) it makes me question their integrity. For many years I viewed marital infidelity as the ultimate betrayal and tended to avoid anyone I knew who had cheated on a long-term partner (I’ve managed to become less judgmental about this but not much). I find it very difficult to separate unethical behavior from my feelings and judgments about someone. For example, if I learn that a Hollywood actor, director, etc. has engaged in a behavior that I find unethical (such as Elia Kazan betraying his friends and colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee), I cannot enjoy their work anymore. I will not knowingly watch an Elia Kazan movie because I find his behavior in that instance so reprehensible that I believe he deserves to be stripped of any accolades he has received. I cannot separate his work from his behavior. I have the same problem with Roman Polanski, although the woman he raped as a teen has forgiven him.

I believe I develop such an unyielding approach to these matters because ethics and morals were so malleable and porous in my childhood. I felt so unprotected and at-risk (Othala reversed) that I developed a personal security that would allow me to feel a measure of security and protection (Elhaz). Realizing how this trait developed can now enable me to relax it a bit. I’m no longer that at-risk child. I don’t need such strongly defended shield walls anymore. I’m much better able to defend myself. Seeing this pattern will hopefully help me change it where necessary moving forward and allow me to recognize similar patterns in others. I may not be able to change this behavior in others (in fact there are certainly going to be occasions where it would be dangerous to do so) but at least it helps me understand what type of situation I’m addressing.

Our own mythic journeys

I was pondering stuff the other day (okay I had time on my hands and my brain was just rambling on) after thinking about some of the masks I wear and the burlesque act I can put on for company.  That made me think about how I see myself as the star of my own life.  Don’t we all see ourselves as the center of our own universe; the star of our own reality show?  I’ve seen a lot of books that focus on discovering our “mythic journey” but I realize that I stumbled across living mine quite by accident.

Even as a child I associated my experiences with myths and legends. I used to read Greek and Norse mythology the way some kids read Dr. Seuss (although I read him too). I connected on a deep level to Persephone and her tale of kidnapping, rape and eventually rise to become Queen of Hades. Oddly enough I never felt sorry for Demeter who was inconsolable as she sought her missing daughter. I always saw it as Persephone’s act of rebellion. In my mind she deliberately ate those pomegranate seeds to get away from her mother. Maybe she felt this was her chance at autonomy, independence and maturity. How often do we see parent-child relationships that are so co-dependant that they can only be separated by something like this? I fully understand the desire to get away from one’s parents and be independent and the ruler of your own life. It resonated with me on a deep level. Although I connect with and understand Athena too, Persephone still remains my favorite Greek goddess.
Celtic Wisdom Queen of BattleCeltic Wisdom Combat of Knowledge

When I discovered Irish mythology it was the Morrigan who claimed my heart. She was strong, determined, powerful and even a little scary. She didn’t take shit from anyone – not Cuchulainn, not the Daghda, not anyone. She’s fierce! I was drawn to Macha too. I know she’s often considered an aspect of the Morrigan but her individual tales are compelling and full of independent spirit and power. I mean she cursed an entire Irish province so the men would be struck by pains in the face of impending battle and be incapable of fighting for several days. How kickass is that?!! I honor and admire other Irish deities like Brighid and Airmid but my heart belongs to The Morrigan. She inhabits those dark places that so many prefer to avoid. I find myself drawn to and captured by those dark places. I may not want to inhabit them all the time but I know they exist and can embrace the insight and wisdom they offer.

There are moments when I envision my relationship with my husband as a slightly more committed & traditional variation of what the Morrigan and the Daghda share. In fact I believe my husband shares certain traits with both the Daghda and Thor. He enjoys his beer and food. He has quite a sense of humor and laughs at his own screw ups. He is usually fair minded and willing to help out the underdog. It’s also quite easy to underestimate his intelligence and see him are more brawn than brains.

I have no idea if this approach would help others. I suppose that’s for each individual to determine. However I realize that sometimes finding connections between myths and my own life helps put things in context. It helps to know I’m not the only person in the world dealing with these types of experiences; I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. Seeing it as part of a bigger picture comforts me. At the end of the day I suppose that’s the most beneficial aspect of this exercise for anyone.

Transformational Star

Transformational Star

Transformational Tarot
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games (2006)
ISBN:1572815396

The Book says: Optimism, a message of promise, insight, inspiration and renewal. We each have a connection to a star in the sky and a place on the universal map of existence. Broadening one’s horizons. The healing of both body and mind. A flow of pure universal energy is available to you, you need only be open to receiving it.

TarotBroad’s Buzz:  I had to think about this card because at first glance it’s connection to the traditional associations of The Star was not apparent. But as I looked closer it began to dawn on me. The spider weaving her web is part of a never ending process. She weaves her web, it serves its purpose and she moves on. She weaves a new web, it serves its purpose and she moves on just as we weave our fate or our destiny – the warp and weft of our lives.

The spider is a reminder that when things seem hopeless we have the power to leave it behind and move on. We can weave a new reality for ourselves, we can sprinkle our lives with the energy of the stars if we wish. The crescent moon is also a reminder of change – she experiences monthly cycles of varying degrees of darkness and light. She is a reminder of the saying “it is always darkest before the dawn”. That is the power of The Star. She is that pinpoint of brightness that pierces the darkest night bringing the first inkling of new possibilities.

Stars decorate the darkest night sky and bring us a sense of awe and wonder. How many times have you stared at the stars and wondered if there is life on their planets or what lies out there among the stars. Science fiction authors have woven thousands, if not millions, of wondrous tales to answer that question. And what many of them share is a sense of optimism, a hope for a new beginning. That is what this card represents – hope, optimism and the promise of new possibilities and new potential.

Exploring behind the mask

The other day I got a writing prompt from Psyche’s Call that asked me to consider what hides behind my mask. Of course I would deny I have a mask – I like to claim that I’m as deep and mysterious as a babbling brook. Of course that’s bullshit. We all have masks we hide behind and roles we assume according to environment. At the same time I clearly have a bit of resistance to seeing mine so I decided to ask the Tarot.

Transformational 9 of Wands

I used Arnell Ando’s amazing Transformation Tarot (one of my favorites for this type of work) and asked “What hides behind my mask?” I drew the 9 of Wands. In a traditional RWS based Tarot deck this image would show someone pausing for a moment of respite after having survived a clearly exhausting experience. This figure on this card is more contemplative and less worn out. There is a serenity and calmness to this card that I initially did not understand. Looking at it for a few more minutes finally gave me and insight. What lies behind my mask is someone who does have depth, who does love considering the interconnectedness of things. If you only know me on a superficial level or fall for the burlesque show I often put on in public venues, you might miss this. It’s an aspect of myself I closely guard and only share with trusted friends.

That made me wonder why I feel the need to maintain this burlesque act, to wear this mask. As with most masks, it’s a protective device. In childhood I learned that being a “thinker of deep thoughts” is not conducive to a peaceful childhood. I got teased a lot (in face sometimes I still do). I had friends who used to mock me for using “dollar words” rather that speaking the common tongue. I was proud of my knowledge and intelligence (maybe vain and arrogant could apply as well) and used as many “big words” as I could. To reduce the teasing I became aggressive. If perceived mockery or bullying, I struck back quickly. This often created additional problems that I preferred to avoid. So I learned to become more of a joker, a verbal fan dancer. I distracted others from my more sensitive, contemplative side by acting like a somewhat outrageous, opinionated, and over the top character. That character is a part of who I am but it’s not all that I am, not by a long shot.

A friend recently commented that she has learned to accept that she is different from the majority and her definition of success might be very different from theirs. I am the same way. I realized a long time ago that I don’t need to find fulfillment from my job. I have many other avenues for personal satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment. What I need from a job is that it not be overly stressful, time consuming or aggravating. I need a job that doesn’t take away from my true vocation and spiritual path. It may be that they will dovetail nicely someday but if they don’t I’m okay with that because I have become comfortable with who I am as well as the masks I wear. This is not the only one but it’s the only one I’ll share right now.